While springtime reintroduces us to warmer weather and pretty, blooming plants each year, it also marks a spike in allergy symptoms and complications. When allergy symptoms are triggered by the pollen in the air, the condition is referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever. Hay fever can affect the quality of life of both children and adults; often leading to sinus infections, disrupting sleep and affecting their ability to learn at school or perform at work.
Trees generally pollinate in the spring. Birch, cedar, cottonwood, and pine are big allergy triggers.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis include itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat and/or eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose (congestion), runny nose, tearing eyes and dark circles under the eyes. Children that play outdoor sports during this time of year may start to experience signs of asthma due to the tree pollen in the air or develop a rash or hives. It is important to know the signs that indicate an allergic reaction may be turning into a life-threatening situation; which include difficulty breathing, wheezing, a harsh bark-like sound in the throat heard when breathing, loss of color around the lips and unconsciousness.
Other common symptoms of allergic reactions include itching and swelling of the affected area, hives, itchy rash, hoarseness, hacking cough, tightness in the throat, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
In most cases, over the counter medication like Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin or the store brand of each of these should take care of their symptoms. If your child has been experiencing the symptoms common to seasonal allergic rhinitis or other allergic reactions, and over the counter medication isn’t working, it is important to get them tested for allergies. Allergy specialists will administer a skin test, challenge test and/or blood test to properly diagnose a patient’s condition and directly pinpoint what is triggering their symptoms. Cone Health has a network of allergy/immunology specialists and related healthcare providers dedicated to treating allergies and improving the quality of life of those who suffer from the condition.
Dr. Jose Bardelas is a board-certified allergy and immunology specialist and member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Bardelas is a 1973 graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at University of Colorado National Jewish Hospital.